The web sphere is heated up ever since Adobe has declared that it will stop developing Flash Player for mobile devices and will focus on developing new Flash features for PC browsing and mobile apps. Most of the developers, who have been habituated of developing codes and contents around Flash, seem to be very agitated after hearing the news. However, some people are also supporting Adobe’s decision recognizing the performance issues of Flash Player on mobile devices and HTML5’s universal presence in mobile browsers.
The decision was made public through a blog post by Danny Winokur, Vice President & General Manager, Interactive Development At Adobe on November 9, 2011, where Adobe’s unofficial roadmap for Flash has been declared. The key aspects of that blog post are –
- Adobe will stop developing Flash Player for mobile devices’ following the upcoming release of Flash Player 11.1 for Android and BlackBerry PlayBook.’ But, it will continue offering critical bug fixes and security updates for existing device configurations.
- To fill out the gap of Flash Player on mobile devices, Adobe will continue its work with the key players of the HTML community to develop HTML5 which is supported universally in all mobile platforms.
- Future development of ‘Flash on mobile devices will be focused on enabling Flash developers to package native apps with Adobe AIR for all the major app stores.’
- Adobe will focus on developing Flash features for advanced gaming and premium video segment.
Although, most developers are very unhappy with Adobe’s decision, let’s have a look at the factors that might have influenced it.
- Flash Player is a power hungry and CPU intensive software which makes it an infeasible choice for power limited mobile devices. And, as it seems now – there isn’t a ‘cure’.
- Mobile devices are far away from supporting features like ‘hardware accelerated 3D graphics for console-quality gaming ‘and premium HD content streaming, upon which Adobe is planning to focus.
- Rerouting investments to develop Flash for mobile apps will help increase Adobe’s share in mobile apps market which is expected to reach $25 billion by 2015.
- Adobe’s investments behind HTML5 will also give a boost in its authoring software business.
While Adobe’s decision seems to be perfectly rational for its business, it is not disheartening for the developer community either despite the temporary ripples it will create. Adobe’s contributions to HTML5 will definitely enrich its multimedia and application development capabilities, and we will see an open standardized web in future.
But, before finishing, I want to mention that we have heard some rumors about Microsoft Silverlight being discontinued also. If that happens, that will really broaden the way for an open standard based web.